Echoes of Love – Book Tour – Guest Post – Gina Ardito – #Historical #Romance

Today we welcome Historical Romance writer Gina Ardito.

Gina – over to you…

We’re living in strange days. And we’re all trying to find a new normal we can live with. One of the aspects of writing historical romances I love is that I know how it’s going to end. Oh, not the way my characters will win in the end (I’m a total pantser, which means I have no idea where my story will go ‘til it lands somewhere), but definitely how the historical crisis they’re living through will end. That’s a luxury we don’t have these days. But it’s important to remember that when our historical figures were surviving their trying times, they had no idea how it would end, either. We just have the luxury of hindsight.

When I opted to choose to set ECHOES OF LOVE during the time of Napoleon’s march on Russia, I knew how the emperor’s gambit turned out. Chesna, my royal governess, has no such certainty—though she suspects. And yet, time and again, when I threw the worst sort of betrayals at her, she outwitted me and rose to the occasion. Take, for instance, this scene when the French army has invaded her city and she has fled to the church with her young prince for sanctuary until she can plan their next move.

“Please, Your Majesty, you must listen to me.”

The boy flipped down the blanket and opened one eye to stare at her. Obviously, her use of his new title had struck through his sleep-fogged brain. His brow furrowed, and a lone tear slipped down his cheek. “Papa?” The squeaky tremor in his voice confirmed her suspicion that he sensed the truth regarding his father’s fate. “He’s gone, isn’t he?”

She bowed her head. “Yes, sire. Forgive our haste, but we must speak quickly.”

The cot creaked as Mikhail sat up. With a shiver at the cold air, he folded his arms over his chest, and looked around in confusion. “Where are my garments?”

Chesna exchanged a quick glance with Karol, who came forward with the bundle of dirty clothes. “Here, Your Majesty.”

Mikhail’s expression mirrored his disgust. “Those are filthy. Where did you get them?”

Cheeks flushed, Karol backed away from the boy’s indignance. “From a dead boy in the street, sire.”

“How dare you!” he shouted. “I do not wear dirty garments.”

“You do now,” Chesna said flatly. She halted the argument he might attempt with an index finger pressed to the child’s lips. “Please, Your Majesty. Listen to me. I’ll explain.”

Although his eyes narrowed in displeasure, Mikhail nodded.

She removed her finger and gestured for Karol to bring the clothes forward. “Do you recall what you asked of me when I told you of your mama’s death?”

“Yes,” he replied warily. “I asked if you’d be my mama now. But you said you could never take her place.”

She shook out the threadbare shirt to remove any stray dust or insects, then slid the rough garment around his satiny shoulders. “Well, sire, I’ve changed my mind.”

The boy looked up, one eyebrow quirked. “How so?”

“To rule Amatia, Napoleon would destroy the royal family, including you. But the French only plan to remain here for a short time before pressing on toward Moscow. They must cross the mountains before the cold weather sets in. And if they’re defeated in Moscow, a fate my father claimed was all but certain, your throne reverts back to you based on your alliance with Tsar Alexander. Until then, we must keep these foreigners from discovering your true identity so they cannot harm you or take you prisoner.”

One eyebrow quirked up, an expression so like his father’s, Chesna sucked in a sharp breath. “And how will we accomplish this?”

She refocused on the new king. “While you slept, Karol took your garments and went out into the streets. He found a dead boy of about your age, removed his clothing, dressed him in your royal attire and left his body beneath that of your father’s. By tomorrow morning, Napoleon’s army will be under the assumption they succeeded in killing the entire royal family.”

“So you’re going to pretend to be my mama to fool our enemies,” he surmised. At Chesna’s nod, he clapped. “How clever of you!”

I wish I had the answer as to how our current circumstances will end, but the best I can promise is that it will, eventually, end. Until then, why not lose yourself in stories where you may not know how they’ll wind up together and happy at the end, but you know they will? I highly recommend you start with ECHOES OF LOVE.

Echoes of Love
by Gina Ardito
Genre: Historical Romance
Royal governess Chesna Dubrow must protect the five-year-old king of Amatia from Napoleon Bonaparte’s invading army. To do so, she’ll be forced to wed one of the emperor’s loyal soldiers. But Pietor Gabris isn’t any soldier. Years ago, he broke Chesna’s heart, forgetting the vows they’d made to love each other forever.
Pietor’s return to Amatia is embroiled in subterfuge. Amidst the deceit surrounding him, he clings to the one truth he cannot ignore: his timeless love for Chesna. Yet confessing what’s in his heart would sentence them both to death. To keep Chesna safe, he must portray the role of traitor, ensuring her animosity continues to blow hot and harsh.
As danger and intrigue swirl around the palace, can Chesna place her faith—and heart—with the one man she swore she’d never forgive?
Editorial Review from Entrada Publishing:
The old saying goes, if you love something, set it free, and if it is
meant to be, it will return. In Gina Ardito’s historical fiction
novel, she explores the idea of lost love, and bitter-sweet homecomings.
Set in the fictional country of Amatia, Chesna is the governess of the
young prince Mikhail, as a means to ease her broken heart. Six years
prior, her childhood sweetheart, Pietor was sent off to Russia, and
soon forgot all about Chesna. However, fate will soon bring the two
lost lovers together again, but under dire circumstances. As
Napoleon’s armies march upon Amatia, Chesna finds herself caught
between loyalty to her country, and what her heart desires.
Ardito does a masterful job blending real-life historical events, with a
beautifully crafted love story. She crafts a suspenseful and engaging
narrative, taking readers through historical events, and the inner
conflicts within Chesna, and Pietor. The storytelling is beautifully
done as Ardito explores the concept of long-lost lovers, betrayal,
and learning to follow your heart. The narrative flows in an organic
way, with tension masterfully woven throughout. The dynamics between
Chesna and Pietor is natural, and their relationship is very well written.
Along with a tender love story, the author sets up a mystery that Chensa,
and Pietor must unravel before it is too late. Readers will be on the
edge of their seats, as they follow along in the race against time.
Chesna must figure out who to trust, and who she can place her faith in.
For those looking for a suspenseful, yet tender love story, Echoes
of Love
is a fantastic historical fiction novel. Gina Ardito is a fantastic
writer, and her novel will pull at your heartstrings, as well as
leave you breathless.
I honestly don’t know. If I believe you, someone whom I’ve known
all my life wants me dead. I have nowhere to turn and no one whom I
can trust. I am surrounded by enemies on all sides. Do you have any
idea how that makes me feel?”
I kill houseplants. There. Now you know one of my greatest shames. I’m not boasting. I just figure that if you’re reading this, you’re looking for more than how wonderful life is as a writer. You get enough of that elsewhere. Ditto for political rants, how to lose thirty pounds in a week, and creating gorgeous crafts with nothing more than twine and soup cans. My goal is to connect with you, dear reader, even if you’re not a writer, not a New Yorker, not a mother, not a female. We’re human (unless one of us is a spambot), and what we have in common is flaws. So here are a few more of mine:
I sing all the time. I sing songs most people don’t know–jingles from television, crazy stuff I used to listen to on Dr. Demento, Broadway and movie soundtracks, and I can even bum-bum-bum through instrumental music. I sing in the car. In the shower. While I’m grocery shopping. And I headbop while I sing. When I’m not singing, I talk to myself. Just ignore me and move on. You get used to it after a while.
I don’t eat my vegetables. Seriously. I only started eating salad about ten years ago, but I’d still rather have a cookie.
Given the option, I would live in a mall where I would never have to worry about freezing temperatures or too much sun. I’m extremely fair-skinned and could burn under a 60-watt light bulb.
I can’t sleep without background noise so the television’s on all night. If it’s too dark and too quiet, all I have are my thoughts. And even *I* don’t want to be alone with my thoughts.
Don’t ask me to Zumba, line dance, or march in the parade. I have absolutely no rhythm.
I color outside the lines. Not because I’m a rebel, but because I suck as an artist. My artistic ability is limited to being able to draw Snoopy sleeping on his doghouse. And I don’t even draw that well.
Regrets. I have more than a few.
My favorite activity is sleep, and I’m pretty good at it. I don’t clock a lot of hours, but I can powernap like a Persian cat and rejuvenate within ten minutes.
I consider shopping and dining out excellent therapy for anything wrong in my life.
My feet are always cold. Always. My husband of more than a quarter century claims it’s because I’m an alien sent to Earth to destroy him. (He might be right about that.)
Coming to my house for a visit? Unless you’ve given me plenty of advance notice, be prepared. My floor will not be vacuumed, there will be dishes in my sink, and I only make my bed when I change the sheets once a week (I’m climbing back into it ASAP. Why make it?) Housecleaning is not high on my priority list. Okay, to be totally honest, it’s not on the list at all.
I can resist anything…except ice cream.
Since this is our first date, I figure I’ve revealed enough secrets for now. But if you’ve read this bio and think I might be the author for you, pick up one of my books or stalk my website: www.ginaardito.com.
$25 Amazon
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Bundle Author Interview – Joslyn Chase #Crime #Suspense #Bloodonthecobbles

 

Author name: Joslyn Chase

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it?

I first learned about book bundling when I attended a Business Master class at WMG Publishing and met Chuck Heintzelman, the founder of BundleRabbit. I also met some excellent editors there who shared their experiences with book bundles.

I find the idea very exciting and innovative. The potential for cross-promotion and cooperation is awesome. I’ve been in three or four bundles, and I’ve edited and produced a collaborative project, And Then There Were Nine, nine thrilling stories from nine masters of suspense.

I hope to be more heavily involved in bundling with other authors in the future. I believe it’s a great way to have fun and profit.

What other bundles are you involved with?

My first bundle was a Halloween Horror bundle that has since been discontinued. But I’m proud to be a part of Steve Vernon’s Cat Tales bundle and A.L. Butcher’s Blood On The Cobbles. I was also fortunate enough to be included in a Story Bundle Historical Mystery bundle, and that was a lot of fun.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I am definitely a plotter. That’s what works best with my temperament and writing style. I leave a lot of room for organic growth, the way I do it. For my outline, I basically define the goal for each scene, but I generally have no idea how the characters will get from Point A to Point B until I start writing. And, of course, as the story progresses, things change and that’s fine. But I like starting out with some clearly defined goalposts to aim for.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

Enjoy your time as an unpublished author. Appreciate those moments when the world is wide open and all the possibilities are in the future where anything can happen. It’s exciting and creatively nourishing to dream like that. After publication, so much happens. It’s still a creative process, of course, but business matters come into it, too, and there are so many demands on your time and attention. Some of the innocence is lost. It’s like moving from childhood to adult life. Hang on to the child.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

I adore the research part of writing a book. There’s so much to learn and so many fascinating topics—I spend a lot of time gathering information and getting a feel for the background before I begin writing.

Perhaps the wildest subject I studied while preparing to write my thriller, Nocturne In Ashes, was volcanoes. Mt. Rainier, in particular. It’s a pretty scary topic, especially when you live in the shadow of the mountain and you realize it’s not a question of “if” the volcano will blow, but “when.”

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

Storytelling is everything. It comes into nearly every aspect of societal life and relationships. We communicate by story, relate to each other by story, learn best through concepts put into story form. I write a blog on the subject of Story Power on my website, joslynchase.com.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

Every word of a story comes through a character. Ground the reader inside your viewpoint character’s head and make sure they’re the one telling the story, so readers see what they see, feel what they feel, and are able to experience the story through the senses, opinion, and emotion of the viewpoint character. In other words, get out of your own way and let the characters speak.

Tell us about your latest piece?

In April 2020, I published a collection of short stories titled No Rest: 14 Tales of Chilling Suspense. I’m pretty excited about it, and some of my personal favorites are in this volume.

I’m also thrilled to announce that my story, “The Wolf and Lamb,” is on the cover of the current Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, something I’ve aspired to since junior high school.

What’s your next writing adventure?

Last October, I started planning a six-book series of thrillers based on my protagonist’s experience in the EIS—Epidemic Intelligence Service, the disease detectives of the CDC. I’m excited about the project, but also a little bowled over now, with the Covid crisis that I didn’t see coming.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things, but I feel like it must have altered things dramatically within the CDC and now I don’t know how much of the research and preparation I’ve put into it remains valid. Or how readers will respond to books on the subject. To be honest, I’ve had some doubts about moving ahead with the project and I put the brakes on for a few weeks, but now I’m re-energized and moving ahead. I’m planning a release date for the first book in November.

What was the last book you’ve read?

I just finished reading Ann Cleeve’s third Vera Stanhope novel, Hidden Depths. I’m very much enjoying the series, and the television program, as well.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this?

I think in large part, yes—readers are wary of books produced by indie authors. The indie movement, which I think is a wonderful thing, has moved the role of gatekeeper from the publishing companies to the readers, themselves. It’s a responsibility many readers are not used to having and may not be comfortable with, at first.

In today’s marketplace, we all rely on social proof—the all-important consumer review. But someone’s got to be the first to leave one. Investing time and money in an untried author and a book with no reviews is a risk many readers aren’t willing to take, and understandably so. That’s why there are so many free books on the market—they are the no-risk samples readers can try before sinking their cash into a new author.

I think this can be a very healthy revolution for both writers and readers, but so much depends on the review. I hope readers will take the time to leave an honest review after reading, a courtesy for other readers and a crucial element for writers.

Is there a message in your books?

There is a message in my books, though I usually don’t know what it is until I’m finished writing. And sometimes, not even then. This is the sort of thing that typically comes through the subconscious mind, though I might start out with a hint of what I want to say to the reader.

How important is writing to you?

Writing is supremely important to me. I’ve waited my whole life to get to this season where I could have a writing career. I know myself well enough to recognize that I couldn’t embark on a writer’s life until my kids were grown. It’s all-engrossing, takes up all my time, attention, and affection. Well, almost all. I try to save out a bit to spend on family and friends J

Links:

 

joslynchase.com

 

Joslyn Chase YouTube channel

 

Joslyn Chase Facebook Page

 

Joslyn Chase Amazon Page

 

Joslyn Chase on Goodreads

 

Joslyn Chase on BookBub

 

Bio:

Joslyn Chase is a prize-winning author of mysteries and thrillers. Any day where she can send readers to the edge of their seats, chewing their fingernails to the nub and prickling with suspense, is a good day in her book.

Joslyn’s love for travel has led her to ride camels through the Nubian desert, fend off monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar, and hike the Bavarian Alps. But she still believes that sometimes the best adventures come in getting the words on the page and in the thrill of reading a great story.

Joslyn believes in the power of story, and writes a blog on the subject which you can find at joslynchase.com. Join the growing group of readers who’ve discovered the thrill of Chase when you sign up, and get access to updates and bonuses.

Connect with Joslyn at https://www.facebook.com/StoryChase/ and visit the Joslyn Chase YouTube channel to see trailers for many of her books.

Blood on the Cobbles Bundle

From legends of murder, and undead killers walking, to missing girls, deadly diseases, suspense and gore aplenty; from sleuths and detectives, murder and vengeance enter into a world of crime, clues and mayhem.

12 authors weave tales both long and short of crime and suspense.

A collection of short stories and novels.

https://books2read.com/Bloodonthecobblesbundle

 

New Release – Blood on the Cobbles Bundle #Mystery #Crime #Murder #Suspense

Blood on the Cobbles Bundle

Blood on the Cobbles V1.2 UPDATED

 

 

From legends of murder, and undead killers walking, to missing girls, deadly diseases, suspense and gore aplenty; from sleuths and detectives, murder and vengeance enter into a world of crime, clues and mayhem.

12 authors weave tales both long and short of crime and suspense.

A collection of short stories and novels.

 

 

Featuring:

Courageous – Russ Crossley

Who Unkilled Johnny Murder? – Robert Jeschonek

What Leads A Man to Murder? – Joslyn Chase

Nice Man Jack – Baby Ice Dog Press

By Dawn’s Bloody Light – DeAnna Knippling

Expressway Thru the Skull – M.E. Purfield

Six Crime Stories – Robert Jeschonek

Double Edged – Jessie Kwak

The Disappearance of Wicked – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Body Language – Harvey Stanbrough

Tales of Twisted Crime – Russ Crossley

Crime du Jour – Diane R. Thompson

Justice Served – Russ Crossley

The Economic Hitman – Eugene Lloyd MacRae

The Sound of Murder – Kari Kilgore

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088LTNB2H/?tag=kydala-20

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088LTNB2H/?tag=kydala-20

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/blood-on-the-cobbles-1

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1513274635

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-on-the-cobbles-a-l-butcher/1137022063

https://bundlerabbit.com/s/shiver-series

 

Blood on the cobbles montage

New Release – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Erana Box Set

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Erana Box Set

Books I-III of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, plus two novellas set in the world of Erana.

Featuring:
The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I
The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book II
The Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book III
Tales of Erana: Just One Mistake – novella
Tales of Erana: The Legend of Oeliana – short novella – updated and expanded for this edition

That’s a saving of 3.49 plus a free story!

Adult rated*

https://books2read.com/LBTSboxset

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088DNVR69/?tag=kydala-20

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088DNVR69/?tag=kydala-20

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/2940162777922

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/light-beyond-the-storm-chronicles-erana-boxed-set

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1512618270

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/light-beyond-storm-chronicles-bundle-erana-boxset

LBTS ERANA BOX SET V2 FINAL

Book Spotlight – New Release – Dragon’s Destiny – Debbie Mumford #Fantasy #Dragons

Blurb:

The last of Sorcha’s six dragon-shifter offspring, Luag has always known his destiny. The self-assured and highly intelligent black dragon is heir to the Rex of the ice aerie, destined to lead his flight into the future.

But Luag is consumed by questions about the past. Why is his beloved ice aerie antithetical to magic? Why have there never been gold dragons clutched in his weyr? These haunting questions lead Luag on a quest that will change everything… especially his destiny!

 

Released May 23rd – On preorder beforehand.

Dragon’s Destiny Link DragonsDestiny-ebook

Shadow Magic Book Tour – #Paranormal #Mystery #Romance – Sherry Soule

Shadow Magic
Macabre Academy Book 1
by Sherry Soule
Genre: Paranormal Mystery Romance
Ghost summoning? No biggie. Raising the dead? Bring it on. Solving my sister’s sudden disappearance? A bit more complicated…
I’m Serena LeStrange, a necromancer who prefers to hide her freakishly fabulous skills from others. Only my sister makes me feel less of a weirdo, so when she mysteriously vanishes from college, I enroll at Macabre Academy to start my own investigation.
Except this is no ordinary school for the magically inclined, it’s home to all monsters—even the most dangerous ones. And after meeting an incredibly gorgeous vampire and a sinfully hot reaper, I find myself entangled in a passionate, yet forbidden, flirtation. To complicate matters, I get stuck with a ghostly genie sidekick and suspect a sinister sorority of misdeeds.
But to solve the mystery, I’ll need all the help I can get. Someone at Macabre knows what happened to my sister, and I won’t stop until I dig up the truth.
Unfortunately, some dark secrets prefer to stay buried.
Do you enjoy not-so-cozy paranormal mysteries, slow burn romances, and unconventional heroines?
Welcome to Macabre Academy, the first spellbinding book in a paranormal mystery romance trilogy!
PG-13: *No F-bombs, sex (slow burn), or graphic violence, but there are steamy kisses.
Heroine: A quirky supernatural Nancy Drew.
Premise: An older university-age paranormal academy series with mystery and light humor.
Sherry Soule is a Multi-Genre Author, who lives in Northern California with her family and two spoiled rescue cats. She likes to surround herself with positive people and reads daily.
Sherry writes exciting tales of passionate romance, epic drama, and thrilling suspense. Many of her books have been on the Amazon bestseller lists and nominated as top picks in the “Best Paranormal Romance” categories on numerous review sites.
**¨**.♥.**¨**
Subscribe to Sherry’s newsletter to get a free eBook: https://bit.ly/37Jpl8T
$10 Amazon gift card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Dark Fae – Blog Tour and Giveaway – Quinn Blackbird #Fantasy

 

Dark Fae
The Dark Fae Book 1
by Quinn Blackbird
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
He came to destroy the world.
He came to destroy us.
But he kept me alive when all else died.
It’s the end of us, the humans. Our world is ravaged, burned to the ground, destroyed by the armies of dark fae crawling all over our lands. They seek to end us, weed out the last of our survivors, and tear us to pieces.
We hide as best as we can. But it’s inevitable.
A dark fae army finds us hiding in a little village. We’re all goners. All of my group dies around me, and I’m about to join them in death—until he spares me.
**On Sale for only .99 cents!**
Taken
The Dark Fae Book 2
He’s a monster.
I’m a prisoner.
And he’s got his sights locked on me.
Caspan, the dark fae General, shows a dangerous interest in Vale, the latest human captive collected by the army.
What the dark fae want with the human captives is anyone’s guess—but it’s the last thing on Vale’s mind. As she struggles to manoeuvre the strict rules of her new life as a slave, she quickly learns that she must avoid the attention of the dark, dangerous Caspan at all costs.
His interest in her is not only a sinister mystery—it’s surely a death sentence.
Stay alive. That’s her only rule in this dark, abandoned world.
But living amongst monsters sometimes means having to bend the rules.
Dark Souls
The Dark Fae Book 3
Rule of the apocalypse. Don’t mess with the dark fae.
I did, and now this monstrous fae wants me;
Wants to hurt me,
Kill me,
And kiss me.
Vale is trapped in the dark fae army, a prisoner of monsters. To make matters worse, the dangerous and dark General isn’t forgetting her any time soon.
He corners her, watches her, and does what no dark fae should do with a human–kisses her.
His lips on her skin is a kiss of death.
But Vale sees in him an opportunity to save the life of her only friend.
Didn’t anyone ever tell Vale never to bargain with the fae?
Quinn Blackbird loves a good anti-hero.
All of her villains stay submerged in ‘dark’ so expect little redemption. She thinks them up over hot coffees and warm cups of tea on the porch.
When not writing, Quinn loves a good face mask and book on the couch with her two pups.
$10 Amazon Gift Card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Guest Post – Mary Ann Cherry – It Isn’t Just About the Verb

Today we welcome Mary Ann Cherry – author of the Jessie O’Bourne Art Mysteries

ALOHA!

IT ISN’T JUST ABOUT THE VERB

My short talk is about adding excitement to your writing, not about the difference between active and passive verbs. To use active words instead of passive, you must first know the difference. so even though most of you are old hands at it, I’ll give a short explanation.

Recognizing passive voice takes attentiveness. The biggest giveaway is some form of the to be verb in a verb phrase. The “to be” verbs are essential in writing. But with overuse, they can also be an enemy of the novelist or short story author.

So let’s first go basic.  In passive voice, the subject receives the action such as: This scarf was made by my grandma. Or…the building was demolished by the storm. Sometimes, in the passive voice, you can’t even tell who is performing an action. For instance: The building was demolished. (By what?)

In active voice, the subject performs an action such as: My grandma knitted this scarf. Or…the storm demolished the building. Or better yet, get some action going:  The scarf twisted under grandma’s knitting needles, growing and stretching like the beanstalk in that old fairy tale.

Phew. That’s done. Now let’s talk about how to use words to activate scenes, characters and descriptions that don’t bore the reader. Active writing isn’t just about the verb. It’s about engaging the reader. So when I talk about active words, I am talking about words that elevate a story from the mundane to the exciting—or at least to the interesting. Choices between boring and exciting can be as basic as what your character is eating or drinking. Words should be painting a picture in your reader’s mind. They should bring taste, smell, and color. When you are writing fiction and have a choice between active and passive verbs think physical. Think “show don’t tell”. It helps to start with the basic sentence and then reevaluate the words.

  • She was drinking apple juice
  • She drank apple cider
  • She sipped hot cider with mulling spices

Okay, there you have the basic. Now, think physical. Think Aloha moment…that which is different will always stand out…

  • She lifted the mug to sip steaming cider, redolent with the heady smell of cinnamon and cloves and hot enough to burn her tongue—badly. That can show rather than tell…another way to show rather than tell.

 

She lifted the mug to sip.  Now give the CIDER a personality – “The amber cider burnt an angry path down her throat like flowing lava.”

The steam, the heat, the smell, the burnt tongue all bring the reader into the moment. It’s about engaging the reader. Active words overhaul a boring story the way exercise shapes and sculpts a flabby body.

Does it have to be verbs that make a story seem to rumble with action? It is certainly better to use verbs that show action instead of the boring passive verbs. However, I have found those can be overdone easily as well.  To augment those words that move, that suffocate, that rejoice, use words that entertain—that DO something to the reader’s experience.

When someone picks up a book, they want to be entertained. They want to be sucked into the story until they become part of it. They want your hero or heroine’s life to become their alternate reality, if only for a short time.

What makes that happen?

Let’s talk people. Fabricate a character readers love, or a character that readers love to hate without making them look in the mirror so often, or have their ex-wife tell about what a jerk they are. Instead, do most of it with—and I’ll repeat it–action!

DESCRIBING YOUR CHARACTER: Description of the character doesn’t have to be dull. A description can be active, and inanimate objects can be given life.

  1. She looked in the mirror and saw freckles, red hair, and her favorite blue shirt– okay, we’re describing the woman…but it’s a bit dull.
  2. Freckles and red hair run in the family – she hated both… a little more active.
  3. Her red hair curled about her face and freckles peppered her nose and cheeks. With an action verb, notice that the freckles have become a living thing? They participate in the story.

If you want more drama, then think more physical. The freckles are alive, but give them something to do.

  1. Freckles didn’t just run in her family – they stampeded through generations of O’Bournes like the running of the bulls in Pamploma.

Character traits: You can describe your character’s personality the same way, but usually it is better to give examples of what the character does to SHOW true character rather than describe it.

  1. Adam is selfish
  2. Adam is a penny pincher – too clicheʼ
  3. More active – Adam pinched pennies until they squealed like piglets.

Or think show don’t tell…

  1. Adam lifted the heart-shaped box and flipped it over to look at the price. Would it take the twenty-dollar box of truffles to make her forgive him? Or could he buy the ten-dollar box of assorted candies and have the clerk gift wrap it free? He took the smaller box off the shelf and handed the clerk his platinum card.

 

LOVE SCENES – of course passion should be active. At least one hopes.

  1. John is passionate about Carrie… informative but boring
  2. John kissed her
  3. John swept her into his arms and kissed her passionately – better

Think physical…think action

  1. In the middle of the sidewalk, John yanked her to him as though saving her from an oncoming bus, then kissed her until traffic stopped.

DESCRIPTION – How about scenic descriptions? They can be active as well.

Tumbleweeds rolled across the dry ground and settled against the fence like waves rolling in from a brown ocean. The clay soil crunched and cracked under Jason’s feet.

Instead of “The sky was cloudy grey ”  anthropomorphize… The wind grew in strength and the oppressive grey clouds trembled like goose-bumpy teens slipping into a haunted house.

FEELINGS AND MENTAL ACTIVITIES are not exempt from action…from page 132 of WRITING the THRILLER by T. Macdonald Skillman…

“…Comprehension swept away denial, eroding her self-control, allowing the fragmented thoughts swirling about her to tumble out.”

Example two – show, don’t tell…from Cherry –

She stood slightly bent, the broken thoughts swirling about her weakened body like the serpent hair of Medusa. She put her hands to her pale face and heard a feral muttering, realizing the sound burbled from her own mouth. The truth will out.

ANTHROPOMORPHIZE: How does the “humanizing” of inanimate objects, the sky, a kitchen table, a random thought or a tumble of nut-brown hair make your writing more exciting and active? Readers spend their days sitting, watching, listening. They yearn for something exciting to do but either haven’t the time, the money or the inclination. The elderly live sedentary lives. The ill are bed-ridden. The activity of words used in extraordinary ways pulls them into the story and gives them an experience. It doesn’t have to be monumental—just different from hum-drum. The story doesn’t have to be outlandish. It just needs to be told in a manner that gives the couch potato a sense of something happening. Let them experience movement and delicious description vicariously.

Colors can be active. The correct color gives personality and mood in a scene. We all know this but seldom think about it.

Which one brings a love scene to life?

Example one: Her billowy dress was low-cut and in his favorite color—a pale, baby’s breath pink (makes you think right away of babies and diapers, doesn’t it?)

Example two: Her billowy dress was low-cut and in his favorite color—a blast of erotic red (red is erotic, aggressive, demanding…

EMOTIONS have color. You may hear “red-hot anger” – you never hear “pink anger”. Any shade of color that would have white added to it, pink, pale lavender, light blue, denote weaker emotions. The primary colors vibrate in your writing. Make sure you use them in ways that are appropriate. Use variations such as crimson for red, ultramarine for blue, etc.

COLORS—especially in a scene: Think about things you like to do and places you like to travel Each one should have a color that comes to mind. We seldom think about that but it part of the way our world works. Morning starts with white bread that becomes brown toast or a blackened charcoal slab fed to the birds.

Color affects mood in our daily life and will do so in the book. A grey drizzly day, a happy sunshine-filled blue sky, etc. Make yourself set the stage. Color can do that in a similar manner of the active verb without having to elaborate. But when you join both together they rock!  A noun that has some latent action will help…

A shimmer of pale-blue draperies –where are we? A bedroom? A B&B?
A blast of Navy-blue – are we at a military parade?
Green –we can’t think green without thinking “nature” and grass OR envy, depending on the scene
A riot of yellow sunflowers – we can almost see them waving in the breeze
How about an explosion of crimson? – we immediately think blood

Colors that sound like food or include food activate two senses—vision and taste—without the reader even realizing it: Nut-brown, candy-apple red, caramel, coffee-colored, creamy white and so on…

Again, let color be active by humanizing the tint or shade and making it DO something…

Black erupted across his vision…
Sea-green rushed in, hammering the beach with wave after wave…

ALOHA!

COLOR SENSE: Excerpts from How Color Affects Our Mood by Rachel Bender
“…
There are several reasons why colors influence how we feel. …There are social or culture levels as well as personal relationships with particular colors,” explains Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of The United States, which forecasts color trends. …You react to color.”

  • RED – Red is the hot, crazy girl of colors, evoking powerful emotions such as fear, anger and passion. The mood red conveys changes dramatically when you lighten it (sweet and innocent pink) or darken it (sophisticated burgundy).
  • GREEN – associated with the environment, it puts you in a relaxed or refreshed mood
  • YELLOW – Yellow carries both positive and negative connotations — from sunshine, which conveys a joyous, happy mood to jaundice and sickliness
  • BLUE – Psychologically, blue is the opposite of red — it lowers blood pressure. Red picks you up and blue takes you down, but not down to depression level. That may be because if you look to nature, such as the sky and the ocean, blue conveys tranquility. That’s also what you project when wearing the shade. Blue is also associated with trustworthiness, strength and dependability — hence, the blue power suit.
  • ORANGE – Orange evokes action. It is said to stimulate enthusiasm and creativity and symbolize vitality and endurance. It’s a little “edgy”

PASSIVE VERBS –  The forms of the verb “to be”

When? Who? Form Example
Base form   be It can be simple.
Simple Present I am I am here.
You are You are here.
He/She/It is She is here.
We are We are here.
They are They are here.
Simple Past I was I was here.
You were You were here.
He/She/It was She was here.
We were We were here.
They were They were here.
Simple Future I will be I will be here.
You will be You will be here.
He/She/It will be She will be here.
We will be We will be here.
They will be They will be here.
Progressive form   being He is being unusual.
Perfect form   been It has been fun.

Check out the info for the blog tour.

Blog Tour – The Jessie O’Bourne Art Mysteries – Mary Ann Cherry

Death on Canvas
The Jessie O’Bourne Art Mysteries Book 1
by Mary Ann Cherry
Genre: Mystery
While painting on location in one of her family’s hayfields, Jessie absentmindedly brushes a note of turquoise onto the canvas. Curious about what added the lovely spot of color, the artist walks over to discover a tennis shoe. The mate is still on the foot of a dying Native American girl crammed between the hay bales.
The story becomes more personal when old flame, Sheriff Russell Bonham, reveals that Amber Reynolds, a grad student writing a thesis for her art history major, was attacked while on her way to speak to Jessie’s family about two missing Thomas Moran masterpieces worth millions. The paintings disappeared nearly a hundred years ago from St. Benedict’s Mission School. Right after the unsolved murder of Jessie’s great aunt Kate.
Death at Crooked Creek
The Jessie O’Bourne Art Mysteries Book 2
The massive tractor draped with the advertising banner struck prominent artist, Jessie O’Bourne, as a fun way to promote Montana’s annual Crooked Creek Art Expo—until she noticed the bullet holes in the back window. Then she heard of the tragic shooting death of a local teen. After her irascible tomcat, Jack, discovers a dead man in Jessie’s motorhome, she not only becomes a murder suspect, but begins receiving threatening notes accompanied by a toy replica of the big John Deere.
Surrounded by talented painters and sculptors, Jessie suspects one is a creative killer.
Cherry is a professional artist who writes the Jessie O’Bourne art mystery series in her elusive free time. Like her main character, she paints primarily western and wildlife subject matter, travels to art shows, and teaches workshops.
Raised in rural Montana, she now lives in Idaho with her husband and several spoiled cats.
$25 Amazon Card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

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Featuring

Fade to Gold – Stefon Mears

Scifi Motherlode – Robert Jeschonek

The Great Succession Crisis – Laurel A. Rockefeller

Alien Blue – DeAnna Knippling

Alien Influences – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Sun Doctors – Meyari McFarland

Adventurer (Star Minds Lone Wolves)  – Barbara G.Tarn

Cursed Planet  – Linda Maye Adams

Earth Plan – David Sloma

Chasing Chipmunks  – Rebecca S. W. Bates